Middleagemum.com: the return of the student

Washing up

Regular readers will remember that Amanda's middleteenageson went off to university earlier this term, with all the strange emotions that incurred for both parents (sadness) and son (mostly total joy).

Well, term has ended and middleteenageson has returned A DIFFERENT BOY. The same, but with a set of new, much appreciated skills. These skills have nothing to do with academia either.

When he went, he could hardly cook and was the world's worst at clearing up after him (when he left for uni we noticed the kitchen was a much tidier place). After arriving home on Saturday he bolted down some food and then WASHED UP THE BOWL. Middleagedad and I were momentarily speechless. He explained that he was given a hard time by the girls in his flat in his halls of residence for his appalling lack of domestic skills and so learnt to wash up like a demon, "I'm old school mum, I wash up by hand, no dish washer for me!" he gleefully explained as he put clingfilm over the bowl of cous-cous and put it back in the fridge…..

He is also pathetically happy to see a full fridge that he hasn't had to pay for. Before leaving us in September, he was a tiny bit picky with food, refusing vegetables and anything that wasn't meat. Now he gratefully eats anything (the bowl of vegetable-heavy cous-cous was a revelation) and nearly wept with joy when he saw the smoked salmon ( 'I can't afford that!")

He has also micro managed his meagre budget with obsessional concern. Middleagdad frequently gets mid week texts explaining how much money is left for the week ( "£9.40 left until friday, can't go out") and he is at last in touch with how much things cost. One thing that seems to outrage him is just how frequently he has to buy food, as if paying for it once was bad enough, then he has to do it all again in a few days! He also wasn't too impressed with having to carry it home on the bus. A designer boy as far as clothes were concerned before he went off (Fred Perry, Ralph Lauren), now he thinks Topman is the best place on earth because he gets student discount…..

Of course all of this makes MAD and I feel like terrible parents, he should have learnt all of this BEFORE he went away, where did we go wrong? Although the fact that he has picked up these new skills so swiftly makes us feel very proud of his ability to cope, so I guess that was good. But sometimes I think your kids have to go away from you to learn stuff, middleteenageson stopped listen to my nagging about loading the dishwasher at around the age of 14 years.Clearly I needed to be a gorgeous teenage female flatmate in order for him to listen.

He texted me about three quarters of the way through term to ask me if his stripy sheets should be washed in a whites or a coloureds wash, so I know he washed his bedlinen at least once in 3 months….And he has had to learn how to be a Hard Northern Lad when it comes to braving a night out without a coat ("Mum, they go out in the snow with only a T shirt on!") Really, he has done amazingly well and we love the fact he is so appreciative of home now he's been away for a while. How long it lasts, of course, is another thing…..anyone else loving their newly educated student offspring? Do tell us your stories…. . 


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